Living with Hearing Loss – Fayes Story
I was born with a hereditary hearing loss, my parents, grandparents and brothers and sister were all hearing impaired to. I grew up using two hearing aids and missed half of my schooling as I had difficulty in hearing the teachers even with my hearing aids. But you get through life as best as you can but it can be extremely hard and isolating for those who live with a hearing loss.
We need to have Hearing Health as a National Health Priority in Australia. Hearing loss affects the lives of millions of people every day in so many different ways and unless you have experienced what it is like to live with a profound hearing loss you will never understand how hard it can be.
After growing up with hearing aids, I completely lost my hearing in my right ear at the age of 25 due to being hit in the head with a hard packed snowball. Then at the age of 46 I suffered another medical problem and as a result of taking some prescribed medication, it caused me to lose my hearing in my good left ear. I was now profoundly deaf in both ears. My whole world turned into total silence and I was devastated.
I then received Bilateral Cochlear Implants in 2005 and 2007 which I now can’t live without. My Cochlear Processors have helped to give me my life back and have been amazing. However, I still live in two worlds. One is my world of my Cochlear Hearing, and the other is my world of reverting back to total silence when I take my Cochlear Processors off at night or when sleeping or in the shower etc. I am still Profoundly Deaf without my Cochlear Processors ON.
I also now have a Lions Hearing Dog (Assistance Dog) which alerts me to sounds when I can’t hear and my hearing dog runs and touches me with her paws and takes me to the sound. For example, she alerts me to the telephone ringing, someone at the door, the alarm clock, a baby crying, the oven timer, the smoke alarm, security, and to Got Get another person during medical emergencies.
My hearing dog is more than just a hearing dog, she is a true little life saver and she alerts me in the middle of the night when a family member has a medical problem and when I cant hear. Just having my hearing dog by my side gives me the comfort to know that she will alert me in case of that important phone call, or medical emergency, not to mention the comfort, care and companionship that a hearing dog gives their owner with their unconditional love and devotion.
Along with hearing loss comes the costs. The ongoing costs of Hearing Aids, or upgrades to Cochlear Processors, the batteries, and Dry & Store equipment, wireless accessories, FM systems, TV Streamers, and Dry Briks to remove moisture from our Cochlear Processors, and maintenance costs and repairs if required too. Then there is Doctors and Specialists, Audiologists, Speech Pathologists, Speech Rehabilitation and all the other health services that one encounters living with a hearing loss.
Also there is the cost of my Assistance Dog, (my Lions Hearing Dog), its vet costs, vaccinations, food, bedding etc. all of which I am out of pocket ongoing for the rest of my life.
Being a self funded retiree, I receive very little assistance for all of the expenses that relate to my Hearing Loss. Often people with hearing loss simply can’t afford to buy a Hearing Aid or to seek help or get the assistive listening devices or help they need and deserve to give them a better quality of life.
Lets spread the word to Break the Sound Barrier and to make Hearing Health a Priority in Australia.